6. Home BancShares

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Shares of Home BancShares ( HOMB) are up an impressive 26% over the past one year, trading near its 52-week high.

Home BancShares of Conway, Ark. was featured in TheStreet's 10 Buy Rated Regional Bank Stocks in January.

Home BancShares is a small regional bank with about $3.6 billion in total assets as of Dec. 31, with 90 branches in Arkansas and Florida.

The company reported fourth-quarter net income available to common shareholders of $14.2 million, or 50 cents a share, increasing from $13.8 million, or 48 cents a share, the previous quarter and a net loss of $14.5 million, or 51 cents a share, a year earlier, when the company booked a $63 million provision for loan losses, resulting in part from a $53.4 million loan impairment charge.

The bank's return on assets jumped from 0.55% in 2010 to 1.50% in 2011.

The company on Nov. 17 announced an agreement to purchase Vision Bank of Panama City, Fla., from Park National Corp. for $27.9 million. Home BancShares will take on 17 branches with about $535 million in deposits, along with roughly $379 million in performing loans, with Park National keeping the dregs. The deal is expected to be completed during the first quarter.

The shares trade for 1.8 times tangible book value, according to SNL Financial, and for 13 times the consensus 2012 EPS estimate of $2.02, among analysts polled by FactSet.

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